What is Focused Instruction?

Focused Instruction, sometimes called aligned or managed instruction, is simply good teaching and learning. It does not represent a dramatic departure from what most Minneapolis teachers are already doing in their classrooms. Rather than changing how we teach, Focused Instruction seeks to establish coherence and alignment in what we teach and how we assess, thereby enabling deeper, richer collaboration between teachers and a more predictable, consistent learning experience for students.

What is Guided Math?

Guided Math is a structure for teaching whereby a teacher supports each child’s development of mathematical proficiency at increasing levels of difficulty, within the context of a small group.  It is premised on the idea that working with children in small groups, provides powerful possibilities for reaching all children where they enter and taking them to the next level.  In Guided Math groups, students engage in standards-based, rigorous, engaging meaning making learning opportunities where the teacher focuses on a particular concept, strategy or skill. Teachers facilitate this learning through hands-on, scaffolded conversations and intensive questioning.

Guided math provides a structure for teachers to differentiate instruction so they can reach and teach every student by:

•    Providing immediate feedback so the student can adjust their work

•    Questioning students in small groups so they have an opportunity to talk with their peers, ask questions and justify their mathematical thinking

•    Providing short lessons that emphasize conceptual understanding, procedural fluency or problem solving


•    Scaffolding lessons so that they can be taught at a concrete level, pictorial level or abstract level.